Summer success for visual arts students

Students from the Department of Visual Arts are experiencing a summer of excitement with a study abroad scholarship program to Russia and shows in Toronto and Montreal.

Three students have been selected for the inaugural State Hermitage Museum Young Artists Program Aug. 9 to 21 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Upper-level students Katy Stenberg-Baine, Michelle So-Yeon Kim and Michelle MacKinnon, plus seven other visual arts students from Concordia University and OCAD University, were selected from 30 applicants.

Above: The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia

Organized by the State Hermitage Museum Foundation of Canada, in association with the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the program offers an intensive session of painting, drawing and photography master classes, museum tours, daytrips outside of St. Petersburg, and visits to contemporary artists’ studios. Most of the expenses are covered, including tuition, return airfare to St. Petersburg, Russia, accommodation and ground bus transportation.

One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, The State Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections comprise nearly three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along St. Petersburg’s Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

"These exceptional students will benefit tremendously from this international experience," said Professor Judith Schwarz, chair of the Department of Visual Arts. "Pairing an intensive master class schedule with the opportunity to explore the collection of art and artifacts at the Hermitage and studios of practising artists makes for a memorable enrichment to their studies at York."

In subsequent years, this program will rotate through Canadian universities. Concordia University, OCAD University and York University were the first three to be invited and each nominated 10 students. The final participants were selected by a jury based on a digital portfolio of their work, a letter of recommendation and a personal statement about their work and reasons for applying.

Closer to home, four of the six students on display at the Sculptors Society of Canada’s 15th annual Juried Graduating Sculpture Student Exhibition hail from York. Simon Black, Kailey Bryan, Robert Clements and Meghan Scott’s work were selected from 381 applicants from arts schools nationwide.

The three Toronto-based jurors were Kate Wilson, director of The Red Head Gallery; Nicholas Brown, curator of Red Bull 381 Projects; and sculptor Lilly Otasevic

The show has been on display since June 9 and continues until July 9 at the Canadian Sculpture Centre at 500 Church St. in Toronto.

Above: Epicardium by Dusten Wenzel

Ian August, Dusten Wenzel, Logan MacDonald and Robert Clements were selected to represent York University in Fresh Paint/New Construction, an exhibition at Montreal’s Art Mûr gallery featuring the work of 32 up-and-coming artists from eight universities in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.  

Right: Room 338 in studio by Ian August

Now in its sixth year, Fresh Paint allows the next generation of visual artists to present their work in a highly professional context. What started as a painting-only show has grown to embrace sculpture, drawing and print media as well. Concordia University, Laval University, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, University of Ottawa, University of Quebec at Montreal, University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario and York University were invited to participate.